Tools of Frugality: the Tire Gauge


With all the recent discussion about products you should never buy, I thought it would be good to switch gears and discuss a tool of the trade that you have to buy if you are interested in a frugal lifestyle.  If you’ve been a regular follower of PFL, you already know the importance of a stand-alone freezer, which enables you to stock up on frozen food items and meats while on sale.  You have hopefully loaded your keychain with frequent shopper discount cards, which, free of charge, provide you with discounts at the register.  Today’s tool of frugality is perhaps the biggest bargain on the planet, a wonderfully small and simple contraption that will save you hundreds of dollars a year if used regularly.

I’m talking about the tire pressure gauge.  Every frugal household needs one for each vehicle.  Forget bells and whistles; no need for digital displays.  Just go with the standard pencil tire gauge, which is a cylindrical device that fits onto the tire valve stem and shoots out an interior measuring stick that shows you the tire pressure inside the tire.  Here is one available online for the bargain price of less than three dollars.

By using this device regularly, you can ensure that your tires are properly inflated and thus save up to three percent on fuel costs.  Note, however, that these things only work if you let them.  It is very easy to buy a pressure gauge, only to misplace it in your garage.  Other people buy one, but allow months to pass before going to the trouble of taking the two minutes needed to squat down to each of the valve stems and apply it.

There are two simple solutions to these common oversights.  First, keep the tire gauge in the vehicle.  In fact, keep one in each vehicle you own, the better to ensure regular checks of each.  The front seat console and glove compartment are the most logical places for it.  Second, assign a specific day of the month as tire pressure check day.  Whether it is the 1st, the 15th, or the 30th does not matter.  What matters is that you develop and perfect the habit of checking the tire pressure at least once a month, with no excuses.  Otherwise, you will go through an entire fall and winter with the tires under-inflated, only to find yourself a good $30 – $60 lighter, depending on driving frequency.

You can find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle in several places.  Many vehicles mount the information inside the driver’s door.  Inside the glove compartment is another location.  You can also find the information in the owner’s manual for the car.  Finally, maximum recommend pressure is also printed on the side wall of the tire itself.

So there you have it: everything you need to know about monitoring tire pressure with a simple, three dollar tool that doesn’t even require a battery to operate.   Could there be a better example of practical frugal living?

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2 Responses to Tools of Frugality: the Tire Gauge

  1. Pingback: Does Hypermiling Really Work and is it Worth it? | Practical Frugal Living

  2. Pingback: Message to President Obama: There is No Free Lunch | Practical Frugal Living

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